Hooked on classics

Although completely contemporary, these designs first took shape before Alexander McQueen was even a twinkle in his mother's eye. Audrey Hepburn's favourite Givenchy sheath dress, for example, has changed little over the decades, while Joseph Thimister at Balenciaga pays homage to his mentor by recreating the meringue- caped dress from original sketches by Cristobal. Yves Saint Laurent's Le Smoking suit has been in production for 30 years, and Coco Chanel was photographed by Cecil Beaton wearing a gold lace coat-dress, like the one shown overleaf, back in 1935. Reinvention for modern women. Photographs by Francois Rotger. Styling by Sophia Neophitou

Left: red sheath dress with snakeskin trim, pounds 1,500, by Givenchy, available from a selection at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, SW3 (0171-235 5000); Joseph, 77 Fulham Road, London SW3 (0171-823 9500); Browns, 23-27 South Molton Street, London, W1 (0171-491 7833) This page: black dress with oversized back bow and cape, pounds 1,280, by Balenciaga, available at Dickens and Jones, 224 Regent Street, London W1 (0171-734 7070)

Gold lace and brocade dress, pounds 1,690, and gold mesh belt with jewel buckle, pounds 785, both by Chanel, 26 Old Bond Street, London W1 (0171- 499 9021); green glass ring, pounds 115, by Lalique, 162 New Bond Street, London W1 (0171-0499 8228)

Black classic "Le smoking" suit, trousers pounds 425, jacket pounds 895, by Yves Saint Laurent, available from a selection at 33 Sloane Street, London SW1, and 137 New Bond Street, London W1 (0171-493 1800); Black cross-strap high heels, pounds 125, from Russell and Bromley, New Bond Street, London W1 (0171-629 6903)

Hair David Mallet at Marie France, Paris

Make-up Christine Corbell at Olga Heuze, Paris

Model Shiraz